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post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 03:29 PM
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I agree to work with a good trainer to get timing and consistency. I did the ear pinch a long time ago and really did not like it at all. I do not like correcting for a behavior the dog does not know yet. It just does not seem fair to me.

I PLAY with my dogs to get the retrieve when they are small puppies, or with Rex (age 3 when he learned ) I did clicker. The easiest thing to do is when they are tiny pups, toss toys, then toss a dumbbell with NO formal command. If they are used to bringing a toy back, they naturally bring the dumbbell back. Cheers was running out to get a dumbbell when she was about 5 mos old and bringing it back. I only tossed it at that age 2-3 times a week for a couple of tosses in amidst her other fetch toys. Once she learned obedience commands wait, take it, front....then I used it as an obedience exercise...but she already was very eager to run out there and get it. I added the clicker to this with her once she knew the words involved.

More complicated with a dog who does not naturally retrieve (Rex)and is older (3 yrs old when he learned). I did 100% clicker with him. Hard to explain it all in detail.....

1. Hold clicker and dumbbell in right hand. Hold dumbbell so the bar is horizontal for the dog to get their mouth around. Hold a piece of food in your left hand closed in a fist.

2. Sit dog in front of both hands out in front of you side by side. At first, they will nose the fist but do not open it to release any food. Eventually they will touch the dumbbell in right hand. Click and treat for a touch. Dog will take a day for touch and click most likely. Second day...up the ante as the dog realizes the dumbbell touch releases the food. Click on a harder touch, then a touch of teeth around the dumbbell, then click for teeth totally wrapping around, then a hold of the dumbbell. It may take the dog 3-4 days to get this. Eventually click only when he is taking the dumbbell out of your hand and holding it in front of you. At this point you can say "take it" since the dog is already taking it.

3. Then put dumbbell on a little chair right in front of the dog and click when he/she picks it up. Then dumbbell on the floor in front of the dog, dumbbell 2' from the dog, 4' from the dog. At this point you should be able to toss the dumbbell, say wait (hold the tab on the collar) and the dog will go get it. I said "front" at this point to get the dog to turn and come back to me.

Rex was DYING to go get the dumbbell and he has no natural retrieve at all when it comes to toys, tennis balls etc. However he IS very food motivated. Once they know the command reliably you can then correct for a refusal to retrieve. I've never had to correct Cheers and Rex only 1-2 times.

Last edited by ellenm; 01-07-2009 at 03:50 PM.
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